Bengaluru, April 22 : A former marine commando's Mumbai marathon medal will find pride of place in a city school to inspire students, following the school's founder purchasing the medal to fund the commando's COVID-19 donation.
Two city-based cousins, Binatha M. Reddy and Jayaram Reddy, bought medals from former marine commando Praveen Teotia, who donated the proceeds, Rs 2 lakh, to the PM-CARES Covid-19 fund.
"I heard the very inspiring story of Teotia on October 2, 2019 and when I came to know that he was selling a medal, I thought I should buy one," told Binatha to IANS.
Binatha, 62, runs a school in the city, Gurukul High School, where she wants to display the medal Teotia won at The Mumbai Marathon along with his profile to inspire students.
Similarly, Binatha's cousin Jayaram Reddy also bought a token medal from Teotia for Rs 1 lakh but told him to keep the medal with himself.
"I didn't buy it, I only sponsored for him to keep the medal. I don't want him to give the medal to me because it is something which was hard earned," said Reddy.
Reddy said Teotia was raising funds for PM-CARES fund by selling his medals as the current Covid crisis is a miserable time for everyone.
Reddy first met Teotia last September through his financial adviser Santosh and later learnt that he was interested in selling the medals to fund his Covid donation.
There was no auction but the marine commando circulated a Whatsapp message of the medals on offer from which Reddy chose one fitting his budget.
Reddy and Binatha transferred the funds to Teotia's bank account recently - Rs 1 lakh each.
"I bought the medal on April 3. Hope to frame it with his biodata and put it up in Gurukul High School," said Binatha.
Meanwhile, the medal is yet to reach Binatha owing to the lockdown.
"Once the lockdown is lifted and normalcy returns, Teotia will courier the medal," she said.
Hailing from Bhatona in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, Teotia fought Pakistani terrorists in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
He played a key role in neutralising a terrorist and rescuing a guest at the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel near the Gateway of India to later win the Shaurya Chakra gallantry medal from the President of India.
After serving for three years in the Navy, Teotia volunteered to join the Marine Commandos (Marcos).
He recovered from the bullet injuries he suffered in the 2008 attack and transformed into a marathon runner.
"I have sold two medals to Reddy and Binatha. Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018 and 2019. I still have 40 more to sell and donate. However, not many people are showing interest to buy," Teotia told IANS.
The commando is waiting for takers, quoting Rs 50,000 for a half marathon medal and Rs 1 lakh for a full marathon.
Teotia is also offering others medals he won at marathons which were much more difficult to compete such as ultra marathons at Rs 5 lakh and higher.
"I am ready to sell my medals and donate the proceeds to the nation," he said.